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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

Broadening the Balance of Spirituality, Emotional, Mental & Physical Domains in Extension

Name of Leader:

Greg Leach

Names of Participants:

Rob Nielsen, Jim Lewis, Andy Grodeski, Jude Westrup, Megan McNicholl, Sue Heisswolf, Cynthis Carson, Robert Chaffe, Lone Lisborg, Greg Claydon

Main points of discussion

  • Spiritual and emotional elements are a major influence on some current life (and death) forms of decision making
  • Different terms (definitions) of spirituality apply for different people
  • Wider recognition is given to indigenous spirituality than non-indigenous spirituality (which is in fact avoided)
  • Connection between the physical and the metaphysical is necessary for many
  • Spirituality is an integral component of social capital
  • Personal and professional spiritual relationships are entwined
  • Spirituality is difficult to measure (so many assume and act like it does not exist)
  • Recognise that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs includes spirituality as a key element of the top (self actualisation) level
  • Spirituality is a primary motivator and influencer of action/behaviour
  • Spirit/love are seen as “taboo” words in our professional life
  • To change the world – change yourself and practice what you preach (lead by example by including spiritual reasoning in your actions)
  • Work on yourself to be a good change agent (facilitator of change) for others
  • It is important for many people to distinguish spirituality from religion
  • The way we do things rather than what we do often has the lasting impact
  • Recognise a person’s ‘reason for being’ – ie. a farmers ‘reason for farming’
  • Can we define what to separate or what to keep as one??
  • In extension we need to express respect for others spirit/religious (value diversity)
  • Spirituality can be ‘scary’ for some and we need to respect and acknowledge that
  • We need to take the opportunity to have a dialogue about spirituality – recognising the “rational” and “irrational” influences on behaviours (espoused values and underlying beliefs)
  • Spirituality can include people’s love for the land

What can be done about this??

  • Allow for “including spiritual elements” in your extension programs – take the risk and give it a go. (PMP module in DNRE Vic has received very positive outcomes) – circulate the workshop
  • Embrace the philosophy rather than the tactic – Extension officers should do things that are authentic for themselves
  • Get in the SLAM network (Spiritual Leadership and Management) – circulate outcomes of meeting next week in Sydney
  • Build relationships

We ran out of TIME !!!!

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